today, a poem

14 November 2011 § Leave a comment

on my way, croatia

“Dried Figs” is written by the Croatian poet Andriana Škunca. I’ve only been able to find a handful of her poems that have been translated into English, and that handful makes me want to take up Croatian again, so that I can translate more of her work.

She lives on the island Pag and the poems I found all seem to be made out of the fabric of her life there. They have this quiet intensity to them that draws me, like a moth to light.

            Grains of light in a dried fig, and beebread for autumn’s bitter mouth. An empty cup chimes to a close on the table. Beside it, mint and lemon. A bee snatched at a ray of sun, covered by a cold shadow like a butterfly.

            The wall grows dark. The wine is bottled, taste of over-ripened grapes. The figs, plucked long ago, dry on the board. Late summer clings to the moistened fruits. Sweetness glistens.

            In the box, between the stems, blackness. Now to add two or three bay leaves to separate the thick clumped fibres, press them in silence.

          By Christmas, crystals on the skin. A dusting of sugar. Frost stalks the hands of the clock. It seems that hoarfrost has fallen from the lid, blanched the room, figs and our fingers.

– Andriana Škunca, translated from Croatian by Kim Burton


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